New regulations were put into place to prevent child trafficking. This means that from next month (July) parents will have to provide an unabridged birth certificate of all travelling children. In addition, South Africans and foreigners will have to provide details of the child’s father and mother. This will apply even when both parents are travelling with their children.
When children are travelling with guardians, these adults are required to produce affidavits from parents proving permission for the children to travel. Unabridged birth certificate applications can take up to eight weeks to complete.
Airlines will be forced to refuse travel to families not in possession of these documents. “The financial impact on service providers and reputational damage for South Africa is inevitable”, says Barsa.
It also said the timing of the new policy comes at a bad time when South Africa prepares to welcome tourists over the peak European school holiday travel season.
Barsa says if a child is denied boarding an aircraft the entire family will not travel. They estimate that up to 20 per cent of tourism arrivals to South Africa could be negatively impacted. Based on 2013 numbers, 536,000 foreign visitors could be denied travel.
“The lost income to South Africa from these high value visitors could be over R6.8bn annually inevitably leading to job losses in the South African tourism sector.”